Rangi Chase, the New Zealand-born stand-off, who was last night named Man of Steel as the outstanding player of the season, has celebrated by becoming English.
The Castleford star has opted to qualify for England under the residency rule and has been drafted straight into the squad for this autumn's Four Nations. Other major award-winners last night were St Helens' Jonny Lomax as Young Player of the Year and Trent Robinson of the Catalan Dragons as the competition's outstanding coach.
Chase, who first came to Britain in 2008, says he now considers it to be his home. "I have resurrected my life in England and feel more at ease here than anywhere else in the world," he said. "I have thought long and hard about the opportunity of playing for England after I became eligible."
The England coach, Steve McNamara, who has already tapped into a number of English-qualified players from Australia, has no qualms about drafting in Chase, who has been one of this season's outstanding players.
"It's excellent news that Rangi wants to play for England and commit his long-term future to our international programme," he said. "I've met with Rangi and he has shown me that he is totally committed to playing for England."
One qualified player who will not be doing so is the Manly scrum-half Daly Cherry-Evans. The Grand Final winner has an English mother, but has been named in the Australian squad for the Four Nations this autumn.
Eorl Crabtree is out of the England squad because he needs a shoulder operation. Four of his Huddersfield team-mates – Dale Ferguson, Michael Lawrence, Jermaine McGillvary and Larne Patrick – have withdrawn from the England Knights squad with injuries.
Prop Kyle Amor has agreed a three-year deal with Wakefield from Leeds, while Featherstone's Tony Tonks has signed for Huddersfield.